This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, August 6, 2003.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Joining us from Los Angeles is a close friend of Arnold, Franco Columbu. Welcome Franco.


VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Franco, when is the last time you saw Arnold Schwarzenegger?

COLUMBU: We had lunch today. We were together until 3:00 p.m.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, did he mention at all that he might have a little surprise for the residents of the state of California tonight?

COLUMBU: No, he didn't mention anything. We had lunch, very relaxed, and we talked. We had fun. We were mere friends together and he didn't bring it up and he was very relaxed and, you know, usually I don't ask him questions that much saying you're doing this or you're not doing that. I usually leave it alone. I'm used to it.

VAN SUSTEREN: How stunned or surprised or maybe you aren't surprised that he has announced that he wants to be governor?

COLUMBU: I'm not surprised because we've been together so many years and he did this before, like one time in 1980, didn't compete for five years in Mr. Olympia and in 1980 he decided to go into competition almost the last minute.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think he'd make a good governor Franco?

COLUMBU: He makes a great, great governor.


COLUMBU: Because, number one, all his life, I know him since 1965, his life has been always on stage organizing things like he does a great show in Columbus, Ohio. It's called the Arnold's classic which is the biggest show in bodybuilding competition from being paid the winner like $20,000 and they get a couple hundred thousand today and he does all this organization.

He always organizes. He loves to do that and he will make a great, great governor and he's the type whatever is good he will do. He's not the type that he will go against the Democrats or against the Republicans. Once he becomes governor he will say I'm here to make things go ahead and better.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean no one's perfect, Franco. I mean is there something that you think is sort of his weakness, something that maybe he's going to have trouble with if he should be elected governor?

COLUMBU: It's very hard for me to think right now where he will have trouble because he communicates with everybody. He pays attention to the smallest and to the biggest people and also one more thing I want to stress here. He is so organized in his office and in his house and himself that even if he's running the last minute he will put it together in no time and will be all organized immediately.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was reported by Adam Housley, our reporter, moments ago that he had "family concerns" that that was sort of maybe holding him back from making the decision to run. Any idea in particular what family concerns it was?

COLUMBU: Well, the only thing that I could think, I don't have much of an idea. My idea is that I could think that Arnold loves to be with his kids so much and Maria and they travel together so much, like they went to Europe to promote The Terminator, and he loves to be with the kids so much together that he probably was thinking, hum, I wonder if when I'm a governor if I'll see them so much like I'm seeing them now.

But he will make it possible because Arnold will fly back and forth and the kids will go up and down and they're used to it to the public and to the last minute packing and getting somewhere.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think if he gets elected governor he's going to miss making movies? Does he love making movies?

COLUMBU: No, absolutely not and I'll tell you why because Arnold is the type like he won Mr. Olympia once. He'd win. He won it seven times then, you know, it doesn't matter anymore and the same in the film business. He became number one. If you become number one then it's okay if you don't do movies anymore for a while because you already got there and now he wants to become number one here in doing something right.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Franco, you had lunch with him today for your birthday tomorrow and, by the way, happy birthday I should add.

COLUMBU: Thank you very much.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're welcome. But when did you first meet Arnold Schwarzenegger? Tell us how you know him?

COLUMBU: It was very strange. I competed in a power lifting show in Stutgart in Germany in 1965 and Arnold showed up there for the first time. I'm from Italy. He's from Austria.

And, I knew usually people in Germany and I say you're a new one here, where are you from? And, he says, oh, I am from Austria, from Gratz, and he competed in Junior Mr. Europe and he won and I won my power lifting and we actually met together on stage after we had the trophy in our hands.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's a good story. Thank you much for joining us today, Franco, and once again have a good day tomorrow on your birthday.

COLUMBU: Thank you very much.

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